Two local firms have been provided with funding to assist them in expanding their operations into downtown Albuquerque, according to the city. Municipal officials have announced that the Electric Playhouse and Blue Door Patisserie will use Storefront Activation Grants from the City of Albuquerque’s Metropolitan Redevelopment Agency to assist them in expanding their businesses on the street level in the downtown district this year, according to Metropolitan Redevelopment Agency officials.
In response to a city news release, a number of news outlets stated that the two enterprises had been selected as the first to qualify for financing made available under the American Rescue Plan Act to aid in the reconstruction and economic recovery of Albuquerque. Further information on the initiative can be found at cabq.gov/storefrontgrants, and applications are presently being accepted.
A portion of the cash will be used to develop an administrative headquarters for Electric Playhouse, which is known for providing immersive entertainment and eating experiences to its customers. It is planned to renovate 3,880 square feet of the Occidental Life Building on Third Street and Gold Avenue with interactive art pieces, in addition to the company’s existing interior office space, if the city grants its permission, according to the city.
In this case, the money was awarded to Blue Door Patisserie, which currently operates out of the Sawmill Market and specializes in French cuisine. The firm plans to use the funds to expand to its second location, which is located at 900 Park Avenue Southwest. French cuisine is a specialty at Blue Door Patisserie, which is owned and operated by a family. They have been in the company for more than 30 years and have a good reputation. According to the press release, the funds will be utilized to assist in the repair of the facility’s interior as well as the provision of livable pay and benefits to the facility’s employees.
Small businesses will be awarded grants of up to $35,000 on a first-come, first-served basis until the funds have been depleted, at which point the process will be repeated until the funds have been spent. Using ARPA funds, small businesses are being encouraged to occupy vacant street-level property or to enhance the size of existing downtown storefronts by at least 50%. ARPA funding in the sum of $500,000 has been provided to the Metropolitan Regional Authority (MRA) for this purpose.
A $5,000 bonus may be available to applicants who can demonstrate that their business would draw customers to the downtown area between the hours of 5 pm and 10 pm, on a minimum of five days a week, in order to qualify for the additional funding. It is described as the area between Lomas, Coal, and Broadway avenues as well as the area between 11th Street and the train tracks, according to a press release.
Other requirements must be met by businesses with less than 250 employees that are located in the Downtown District, as well as by businesses that have completed a lease or lease amendment for an eligible downtown storefront after Oct. 1, 2021, for a period of at least two years after that.